3 Tricks to Identify the Cause of your Baby's Diaper Rash

by Julie Siewert June 01, 2019

3 Tricks to Identify the Cause of your Baby's Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is miserable, both for the baby and for the parents who have to handle it. There is no worse feeling than seeing your baby in pain and being unable to fix it.

There are different types of diaper rash, and with each type, different ways to manage it. While the treatments for the existing rash are mainly the same, if you want to prevent future rashes, you’ll want to know what caused this rash to begin with.


3 Tricks to Identify the Cause of your Baby's Diaper Rash and what to do about it - Pinterest


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog. I am just a mama who has handled her fair share of diaper rash in her babies and is handy with a computer. Please consult your Doctor or Pediatrician for factual advice regarding your child’s specific diaper rash.


This post DOES NOT contain images of diaper rash.

Treating diaper rash

You can usually cure diaper rash by cleaning the area completely of irritants using just water or a mild soap. More frequent bathing can be helpful during a diaper rash outbreak. The ingredients in baby wipes can further irritate sensitive skin, cause pain and prolong the rash. Change baby’s diaper more often and as soon as possible after they poop. Allow the rash to dry completely before diapering. Any additional time baby can be diaper-free will help heal their rash faster. Try laying baby on a towel or have naked playtime on the waterproof changing pad. Diaper rash cream or more natural options like coconut oil can help diaper rash as well.


Location of the diaper rash

This goes without saying, but a rash that is just under the diaper area is related to the diaper. If it is an all-over body rash, the cause may be other than the baby’s diaper.

If the rash is just under the elastics of the diaper, and resembles chafing or cut marks, the elastic of the diaper might be the problem. If a diaper is too tight, it can irritate or chafe the skin. Alternately, the type of elastic used in that diaper brand may be irritating baby’s sensitive skin.

Cure this type of diaper rash by cleaning the area, allowing it to dry, and not re-irritating it. You can also use a soothing ointment like coconut oil to help heal the area. Try not cinching the diaper so tight, sizing up in a diaper or moving where the elastic sits on baby’s body. If irritation continues, you may consider switching diaper brands.


If the diaper rash is just in the creases or folds of the diaper area, it could be yeast. Your doctor can help determine if yeast is present in your baby’s diaper rash, and how to treat it.


Baby Diaper Fit

Diaper allergy

Babies have sensitive skin. And diapers contain a whole multitude of chemicals and ingredients. Different diaper brands contain different chemicals and compounds. Sometimes you will find that baby gets a rash from a certain diaper brand. Some Moms go as far as to say their babies got “chemical burns” from certain brands of diapers. Between the chemicals, ingredients, fragrances and colors, it can be tough to figure out what specifically is causing irritation on your baby’s bottom.

If your child suddenly develops diaper rash after switching diaper brands, it is quite possible that they are sensitive to something in it.

Determining the specific irritant is often difficult and unnecessary. Just find a diaper brand that works and stick with it.

You can do your research on the diaper brands and try to determine which specific ingredient or chemical is causing the rash. Our Diaper Brand Research and Information page includes as much information as possible about what is in each brand. You can always contact the diaper manufacturer to learn more about each specific brand.

Many of the eco-friendly diaper brands contain less chemicals, which may help sensitive bottoms avoid diaper rash.


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Diet changes and diaper rash

As babies grow and begin eating different foods, their poop and pee change composition. The changes in the acidity of their urine and feces often causes diaper rash. If your baby has been introduced to new foods and gets diaper rash, the foods are often the cause.

Treat the rash as you normally would, by changing baby’s diaper more often, cleaning the area often with just water and allowing it to dry completely before diapering. If possible, you can avoid the specific food or feed it in smaller quantities.


Funny story, both of my kids had terrible diaper rash when they ate blueberries. And they loved blueberries. With a little bit of investigating and trial and error, we found that they could eat blueberries, but not too many. If I let them eat as many blueberries as they wanted, they’d have horrific diaper rash from the acidity changes in their poop. But if they were limited to a handful each day, their poop wasn’t so acidic that it would burn their buns. After my kids grew out of diapers and potty trained, then they could eat blueberries to their heart’s content.


Antibiotics can cause wicked diaper rash. If your child is on antibiotics (or Mom is while breastfeeding), they are more likely to get diarrhea which can cause diaper rash. Antibiotics also reduce bacteria, which can allow yeast to flourish.


Baby Diaper


Sometimes diaper rash just happens. The warm, moist environment of a diaper and the fact that it is often harboring urine or feces is the perfect place for irritation to occur. Sometimes it just happens. If diaper rash is recurring, and you can't figure out the cause, you may want to speak with your doctor for help.


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